The Heliophysics Science Division is pleased to report the following HSD recipients of 2012 NASA Honor Awards:
Spiro Antiochos (674): Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal
James A. Klimchuk (671): Outstanding Leadership Medal
Douglas E. Rowland (674): Early Career Achievement Medal
SDO Science Investigation Team: NASA Group Achievement Award
Images and science results from the Solar Dynamics Observatory are highlighted in the cover story of the June 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine. There are 18 pages of photos and text, including a fold-out image, and quotes from the Space Weather Laboratory’s Antti Pulkkinen. The article, “Solar Super Storms” is available in print, and on-line.
Amateur Astronomer Uses STEREO Images to Observe Nova
Amateur astronomer Alan Watson used images routinely posted to the STEREO Website to observe an apparent nova in the constellation Sagittarius. The object, originally detected by Russian observers on April 21, appeared to brighten to visual magnitude +8.8; the nearest pre-brightening object, 0.6 arc sec from the position of the nova, was of magnitude 16. Videos of the HI-1B observations are available on the STEREO Website and the "Universe Today" site.
AGU Science Policy Conference
Jim Klimchuk gave an invited talk, “The Causes of Space Weather,” and participated in a panel discussion at the inaugural AGU Science Policy Conference in Washington, DC. This conference brought together scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss key Earth and space science topics that address challenges to our nation.
SDO Partners With Peace Corps
The Solar Dynamics Observatory EPO team in partnership with the United States Peace Corps is providing educational materials, including the Sun Earth Day packet, to 500 American education volunteers in 30 countries worldwide. These packets will be used by volunteers in their classrooms and communities to educate about the sun, the transit of Venus, and NASA.
Terry Kucera, Deputy Project Scientist for STEREO, now appears as a featured scientist in the "Earth and Space Science Explorers" series for educators.
NASA Feature Article on Solar Asymmetry
The peculiar behavior of solar cycles 23 and 24 is discussed in an online NASA article: "Hinode and SOHO Paint An Asymmetrical Picture Of the Sun" . The article highlights results by Nat Gopalswamy and co-authors describing the north-south asymmetry in the polar field strength and the prominence eruption activity revealed in microwave observations and magnetic field measurements made by National Solar Observatory telescopes and Hinode.
SDO in the Classroom
During the week of April 19, the SDO E/PO team brought their "Ambassador in the Classroom" program to approximately 200 third and fifth graders at Cresthaven Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD. The students learned about the Sun-Earth relationship through hands-on lessons related to SDO.
"Secrets of the Sun" Airs on NOVA
The PBS NOVA documentary, "Secrets of the Sun," aired on April 25. Stunning footage from NASA's Solary Dynamics Observatory and interviews with Goddard Heliophysics scientists were included in the show. Two interactive websites provide opportunities for viewer participation in heliospheric science. The NOVA Labs citizen scientist website is geared toward middle and high school students, enabling them to analyze real SDO data, and the NOVALabs Facebook page featured HSD scientist Phillip Chamberlin providing answers to questions about the Sun.
Solar Physics Governing Committee
Terry Kucera has been nominated to run for the AAS/Solar Physics Division governing committee.
Balloon Payload X-Ray Mission
The Hands on Project Experience Training Opportunity (HOPE) has provisionally selected the proposal, “High Energy Replicated Optics to Explore the Sun (HEROES).” Led by Jessica Gaskin at MSFC and Steven Christe (671) at GSFC, HEROES will repurpose and fly an existing balloon payload (HERO) developed at MSFC to observe the Sun in addition to astrophysical sources using grazing incidence hard X-ray optics. The solar science goal of this flight will be to observe a solar flare for the first time with hard x-ray focusing optics which enable high sensitivity and dynamic range. The award is considered provisional as a review is needed to revise the existing training plan.
Physics Today article on "Solar Eruptive Events"
Gordon Holman (671) wrote a feature article in the April issue of Physics Today titled “Solar Eruptive Events.” Solar eruptive events are the large, sometimes geoeffective explosions consisting of a flare and a coronal mass ejection. The article reviews recent insights from space observatories, especially the Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI), into how energy is released in these events.
Solar Physics Laboratory (671) welcomes Nicholeen Viall
The Solar Physics Laboratory (671) welcomes Dr. Nicholeen Viall as its newest civil servant. Nicki earned an undergraduate degree in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Washington in Seattle, followed by a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Boston University. Her thesis, “Periodic Solar Wind Density Structures,” investigated structures in the ambient Solar Wind and their interaction with Earth’s magnetosphere. After finishing her thesis, Nicki came to GSFC as a NASA Postdoctoral Program fellow working with Jim Klimchuk (671) on solar coronal heating, a topic which she continues to investigate using the new data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Solar Dynamics Orbiter - E/PO Team at Wondercom
The SDO Education and Public Outreach team had a very successful education booth at the comic book and and sci-fi convention WonderCon last weekend. There were over 45,000 attendees and the team spoke to several thousand people about the upcoming transit of Venus and SDO and solar science. The response from this science interested audience to our “science fact” at their science fiction convention was overwhelmingly positive and supportive.
Solar Week 2012
Solar Week, celebrating the Sun-Earth Connection in classrooms, was held 3/19/2012 - 3/23/2012. Terry Kucera (Code 671) participated by answering questions from Junior High School students. The program is focused on sustaining student interest in science.
Goddard Judges at Prince George's Science Fair
On Saturday, March 17, Rebekah Evans (674 NPP), Carrie Black (674 NPP), Sarah Jones (674), and Brian Dennis (671) served as volunteer judges in physics and astronomy for the 64th Annual Prince George’s Area Science Fair held at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, MD.
STEREO Mission Wins Popular Vote
The STEREO results featured in “Twin Solar Spacecraft Take First Complete Image of Far Side of Sun” was voted “NASA's biggest accomplishment of 2011” by popular vote . The STEREO Project, STEREO Science Operations Center, Goddard Communications, and the Science Visualization Studio worked together very effectively to highlight this achievement at an outstanding press event.
Solar Dynamics Orbiter Seminar at JHU/APL
Dean Pesnell (671) presented “The Solar Dynamics Observatory: 70 Million Images of the Sun and 2 Comets” as the Geospace and Earth Science Research Group Seminar at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory on March 8. This talk described SDO, data from SDO, and some aspects of space weather that affect our everyday life.
University of North Dakota Students Visit Goddard
Yihua Zheng (674) along with Holly Gilbert and Phil Chamberlin (both 671) met with a group of 20 students (undergraduate and graduate) from the University of North Dakota on March 13. The students got a tour of the CCMC and Space Weather Center and participated in informal presentations about solar physics and space weather.
D Pesnell (671) presented talk at Earth Science Seminar.
Dean Pesnell (671) presented "The Solar Dynamics Observatory: 66 Million Images of the Sun and 2 Comets" as part of Millersville University's Earth Science Department Seminar Series on February 16. The Earth Sciences Department Seminar Series brings to Millersville University leading scientists from universities, government agencies (NASA, NOAA, etc.) and private industry to speak on topics relevant to the Earth. This talk described SDO, data from SDO, and some aspects of space weather that affect our everyday life.
Solar Dynamics Orbiter Seminar at George Mason University
Dean Pesnell (671) presented “The Solar Dynamics Observatory: 66 Million Images of the Sun and 2 Comets” as the Space Weather Seminar at George Mason University February 16. This talk described SDO, data from SDO, and some aspects of space weather that affect our everyday life.
B Dennis (671) presents top-ten science nuggets at RHESSI Tenth Anniversary.
A new RHESSI Science Nugget was written by Brian Dennis (671) and Robert Lin (UC Berkeley) for RHESSI's Tenth Anniversary of its launch in February 2002. The
featured a list of the top-ten areas in which RHESSI has made unique contributions to understanding solar flares over the last ten years
H Gilbert (671) interviewed on new Earth from Space broadcast.
Holly Gilbert (671) was interviewed for a special two-hour feature, “Earth from Space,” to be aired on NOVA, Discovery-Canada and channels worldwide. Holly discussed the Sun-Earth connection, elaborating on space weather phenomena such as the aurora.
J Klimchuk (671) attends the Solar-C meeting.
Jim Klimchuk (671) attended the Solar-C meeting in Tokyo to discuss the science goals and observing requirements for the XUV spectrometer and X-ray/EUV imager.